Interpersonal communication skills are essential to engineering job performance. However, communication is increasingly becoming digital, rather than face-to-face or in person. This assignment is intended to strengthen the students’ digital communication skills in a professional engineering context. Students that master this assignment will be prepared to make effective digital business presentations and communicate more effectively in professional settings.
This assignment advances ABET learning objective G. — Communicate effectively. Specifically, students are expected to familiarize themselves with digital media and develop presentation skills.
Working individually, students will select one of their prior technical reports, or any other aspect of the class they found compelling to present in a digital format in five minutes or less. This can include conation, the Citicorp Tower case study or any other compelling aspect of the class, including a memorable discussion or experience. The video must be posted to YouTube, although it need not be publicly listed. (I.e., you may post it as “unlisted” so that only those with the right link will be able to see it). Additionally, students will serve as peer-reviewers for at least five videos produced by classmates by responding in CritViz (see Part 2: Critique).
The videos themselves should be informed by these guidelines:
- The story should have a logical flow. Consider an outline that follows an order like this: 1) Problem Statement, 2) Hypothesis or Proposition, and supporting evidence, 3) Investigative Method, 4) Results & Recommendations. You may find very helpful the guidance provided on publicly available web-sites like this one.
- It is essential for the viewer to understand the main point of the video, as encapsulated in a recommendation or argument. Follow the guidance contained in this 23 minute lecture
In video, visuals are essential. Too many powerpoint presentations are merely notecard slide compilations. Powerpoint in particular has also presented frustrating audio issue for students, making a working presentation difficult to achieve. Minimize the use of words on your slides (if you use them), and instead let your voice speak the words to your viewer. Maximize the use of visuals such as graphs, charts, data, or figures that help dramatize your point and make it intuitive.
It is better to have a relaxed, informal style in which you have confidence (but make mistakes) than to have a formal style that is mistake-free, but fails to put your viewer at ease. Recording your video will likely require several attempts, but don’t obsess over small mistakes in your speaking. Your audience will be forgiving if you simply move on.
Grades will be based on the quality of your presentation, as judged relative to the guidelines above.